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Sen. Cruz: We Have a Moral Duty to Acknowledge What Happened to 1.5 Million Innocent Armenians

Urges passage of bipartisan Menendez-Cruz resolution affirming U.S. recognition of Armenian genocide

December 6, 2019

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), this week went to the Senate floor to urge their colleagues to take up and pass their bipartisan resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, which resulted in the death of 1.5 million Armenians. The resolution was once again blocked.

As Sen. Cruz said:

"We must never be silenced in response to atrocities. Over 100 years ago, the world was silent as the Armenian people suffered and were murdered, and many people today are still unaware of what happened. [...] We have a moral duty to acknowledge what happened to 1.5 million innocent souls. It's the right thing to do.

He continued, noting concerns this resolution could "irreversibly poison the U.S.-Turkey relationship" were unfounded given that 12 NATO nations have similarly recognized the Armenian genocide:

"Yes, Turkey is a NATO ally, but allies can speak the truth to each other. We should never be afraid to tell the truth, and alliances grounded in lies are themselves unsustainable.

He concluded:

"I look forward to the day, hopefully very, very soon when all 100 senators, Democrats and Republicans, are united in simply speaking the truth, recognizing the genocide that occurred and making perfectly clear that America stands against genocide."

Sen. Cruz's full remarks may be viewed here and below:

"Mr. President, I'm proud to join with my colleague from New Jersey today in urging the Senate to take up and pass the bipartisan Menendez-Cruz resolution affirming U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide.

"From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire carried out a forced deportation of nearly two million Armenians of whom 1.5 million were killed. It was an atrocious genocide. That it happened is a fact and undeniable reality. In fact, the very word ‘genocide,' which literally means the killing of an entire people, was coined by Raphael Lemkin to describe the horrific nature of the Ottoman Empire's calculated extermination of the Armenians.

"We must never be silenced in response to atrocities. Over 100 years ago, the world was silent as the Armenian people suffered and were murdered, and many people today are still unaware of what happened.

"With this resolution, we are saying that it is the policy of the United States of America to commemorate the Armenian genocide through official recognition and remembrance.

"We have a moral duty to acknowledge what happened to 1.5 million innocent souls. It's the right thing to do.

"And, Mr. President, I certainly understand the concerns of some of my colleagues who worry that this resolution could irreversibly poison the U.S.-Turkey relationship and push Turkey into the arms of Russia. But I don't believe those concerns have any sound basis. As my colleague from New Jersey pointed out, 12 NATO nations have similarly recognized the Armenian genocide. Yes, Turkey is a NATO ally, but allies can speak the truth to each other.

"We should never be afraid to tell the truth, and alliances grounded in lies are themselves unsustainable.

"Additionally, the Foreign Relations Committee in the coming days will be marking up an enormous package of sanctions on Turkey. The horse has left the barn. There's no good reason for the administration to object to this resolution and the effect of doing so is to deny recognition of this chilling moment of history.

"Let me close by echoing the optimism the senator from New Jersey gave. We may well see an objection here today, as we did when Senator Menendez and I previously came to the Senate floor and sought to pass this just a couple of weeks ago.

"But I believe in the coming days and weeks we will get this passed. That this objection, I hope, will be only temporary, and I look forward to the day, hopefully very, very soon when all 100 senators, Democrats and Republicans, are united in simply speaking the truth, recognizing the genocide that occurred and making perfectly clear that America stands against genocide.

"I yield the floor."

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